Arts Hall of Fame Inductees 2013
DR. MARK E. BELCZYK - CLass of 1977
Dr. Mark E. Belczyk began his musical career at age nine with the study of the clarinet. He soon added the piano and saxophone to his repertoire, and studied clarinet with retired Philadelphia Orchestra member Michael Guerra. He was selected for Delaware County Youth Orchestra, numerous District and Regional/All-State Bands and Orchestras, and the All-Eastern United States Band. His conducting career also began in high school as he arranged and conducted pieces for the Pop Group, and Tschaikowsky’s 1812 Overture for the orchestra. At Temple University, Dr. Belczyk continued his clarinet study with several Philadelphia Orchestra members and played solo clarinet with the Symphonic Band, Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Opera Orchestra. He became a member of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and played principal clarinet for concert tours of Australia and Great Britain. Dr. Belczyk also had the opportunity to perform with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Curtis Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of prominent conductors such as Eugene Ormandy and Peter Nero. As a member of the theatre department at the Appel Farm Arts and Music Center in New Jersey, Dr. Belczyk was musical director and conductor for “Annie”, “Grease”, “Pippin”, and “Little Shop of Horrors”. He joined West Chester Area School District in 1986 and has taught elementary band, middle school orchestra, and was musical director and orchestra conductor for Henderson High School’s productions of “The King and I”, “My Fair Lady”, Fiddler, on the Roof”, and “Hello, Dolly!”. Mark has been music director and conductor of the Chester County Youth Orchestra since 1996. He has served as principal clarinet and was a featured soloist for the Immaculata Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Chester County, the Lansdowne Symphony, and the Delaware County Symphony.
AL BERKELY – AVID CONTRIBUTOR OF THE ARTS
Al Berkley worked for Eastern Airlines for twenty-seven years. He began as a baggage handler, moved on to an airplane fueler, pumping thousands of gallons of diesel fuel into each plane, then transferred to working on all the ground vehicle equipment for the airline such as the jet ways. Upon retirement from the airlines, Al worked for many years in construction running every form and type of heavy equipment imagined. He not only knows how to run and operate anything with a motor, but he also knows how to problem-solve, troubleshoot, and repair just about anything that humans have invented and depend on for daily survival. In 1987, Al began attending Springfield’s adult woodworking classes held each Monday night at the high school and continued to be an integral part of that program for nineteen years until it ended in 2006. During those years and up to the present day, Al Berkley has assisted hundreds of students and proven to be a vital part of the Industrial Materials program. It would be hard to imagine where we’d be without him. He volunteers at nights and weekends during “open labs” and constantly produces a myriad of solutions when everyone else is stumped. When confronted with a complex problem, Al modestly says “no problem” and before long all is well. He always leaves with the statement, “If you need anything, just give me a holler”. For 27 years, Al Berkley has been a humble friend to Springfield High School and its time we said “Thank you.”
Dr. JOHN BRODSKY – AVID CONTRIBUTOR OF THE ARTS
During the 2005-2006 school year, George Trout received a letter from a gentleman named Dr. John Brodsky, from Swarthmore. The letter humbly stated that John was an amateur, but avid harpsichord maker. He had heard about our program and announced he would love to volunteer his time helping to guide a diligent student through the process. For two years, there were no takers. In 2008 however, two students showed great interest and a wonderful partnership finally began production. John Brodsky is a practicing medical doctor, but that is merely his most visible talent. He is a highly skilled orator, writer, teacher, photographer, painter, and musician and he is most generous with each of his gifts. John learned piano from Maurice Sitrano from 1945-1953 and built his first harpsichord in 1965. He learned from his parents and grandparents that with two hands and some thought, we can create almost anything, be it a painted portrait or a simple wire fence. His love of beauty is connected to these works of art. He is currently working on his tenth personal harpsichord and after last evening’s Celebration of the Arts, our student count is now 5. John has given a tremendous amount of hours and dedication to Springfield students. He assists with design, instrumentation, and performance at night, on Sundays, and anytime kids are available. John has 3 grown children and 2 young adopted children, Eric and Miranda. He and his wife, Ingrid, graciously host classical live concerts in their home to share their love of music.
MEGAN CAVALLARI - CLass of 1983
Megan Cavallari first professionally produced a musical at the age of 16. Megan studied music with professor and author Dr. Alfred Blatter of the Curtis Institute of Music and George Crumb of the University of Pennsylvania when still a teenager. She began working with Danny Elfman on “Tim Burton’s, “The Nightmare before Christmas” and continued with Mr. Elfman for 8 movies ending with “Dolores Claiborne.” She has arranged for film composer Graeme Revell and singer Johnny Mathis, and also worked with film score legend Jerry Goldsmith. Megan has been a singer, vocal arranger, and musical director on over 75 film scores and records, including Burton’s “Nightmare”. She has written music for over 25 television shows and 9 feature films. She also has composed 16 critically acclaimed musicals and earned 2 platinum albums and has been the LA Kings composer for the past 6 sessions. Megan has won numerous awards in her field. With all these accolades, perhaps Megan’s greatest gift is her creation of “The Talk Foundation” which gives chronically and terminally ill children the opportunity to express themselves through sound. Each child’s words, laughs, cries, and audible forms of expression are recorded and presented to the families as a precious record of each child’s own story. It is Megan’s passion for sound and her love of children which inspire “The TALK Foundation.”
MATTHEW COURTNEY - Class of 1978
Matthew Courtney is a ceramics educator, exhibitor, and promoter. Matt teaches at the University of the Arts College of Art, Media, and Design, the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Temple University Tyler School of Art, and Drexel University Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. He states that he is extremely proud to be teaching at four of the Philadelphia area’s prominent universities. Matt is truly influencing a large number of today’s current and future artisans. Matt has participated in dozens of solo and group exhibitions throughout his career with the most recent being a 2012 solo showing at Georgia Southwestern State University. Matt is proud to have been chosen for a Fleisher Art Memorial challenge exhibition and also has received an Ohio Arts Council individual artist fellowship. Matt has been sharing his love of ceramic art to students for 23 years and has been senior lecturer at University of the Arts since 2000. In Matt’s words, “I want my students to recognize possibilities, to see more than one answer and that there are many competing opinions regarding a solution. I want them to see the subjectivity of problem-solving with the goal that they achieve a developed ability for individual, creative thinking.” I think we would all agree that is truly the essence of teaching.
LAURA GODFREY DeFONSO - Class of 1938 - In Memorium
Laura Godfrey DeFonso graduated from a nearly new Springfield High School in 1938. She earned a full scholarship to Temple School of Education and graduated in just 33 months. Laura began her teaching career in 1942, in the communities of Honeybrook, Collingdale, and Lansdowne. Then she and her new husband, Alex, moved to Dade County, Florida where she continued to educate for the next 36 years. In addition to playing violin, piano, and organ, plus teaching and directing both the chorus and orchestra, she helped produce an endless variety of choral and instrumental programs. In 1950, Laura was responsible for establishing the first chapter of Modern Music Masters, the official National Music Honor Society. In 1960, she served on the faculty for student evaluation at American University. She was involved in an impressive number of community programs, both public and private, including directing/producing “The Mikado,” “Bitter Sweet,” “Waltz Dream,” and excerpts from “Oliver,” “The King and I,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Sound of Music.” During her career, Laura served as state chairman of the Jr. High School Music Teacher’s Association and the district chairman of the Sr. High School music Teacher’s Association. She received many honors during her stellar career, but her adoring husband, Alex describes Laura best – “Her totally unselfish nature had a positive influence on all the lives she touched, and she was always a shining example of the best that could represent her alma maters, both of which she was always very proud."
STEPHAN GAMMARINO - CLass of 1986
Stephan Gammarino graduated from Springfield High School in 1986, earned his music degree with honors from Temple University, and began teaching elementary music the same year in the School District of Lancaster. While at Lancaster, Stephan won the Mann foundation award for excellence in teaching because his students consistently outperformed their peers throughout the district. In 1999 Stephan began teaching middle school music in the Lower Merion School District where he has remained successful for the past 14 years instructing students in 6th – 8th grade music technology lab, 6th grade band, and jazz band. In addition to his teaching profession, Stephan has remained dedicated outside the classroom and is a professional musician with “Marquee Entertainment,” a ten-piece band performing a wide repertoire of music where Stephan specializes in trumpet, flugelhorn, and percussion. He also performs with “Jazz 180”, a jazz quintet exhibiting a contemporary approach to straight-ahead jazz in the Philadelphia area. In addition to those performances, Stephan has controlled the drums and audio for the past 6 years for the Hope Community Church Workshop team and shares his love of music with his wife Carole, and daughters Stephanie and Sophia.
JOHN GREENSTINE - Class of 1969
John Greenstine, class of 1969, is a senior video writer-producer with the Unisys Corporation and has decades of experience in producing and directing video and digital media. He has long been considered an innovator in corporate television, and by extension, to his colleagues in the broadcast world. John has a BS in Communications and an Ed.M. in Educational Media from Temple University. In addition to Unisys, John has worked for Temple and the DuPont Company. While at Temple he produced the original “Could Have Gone Anywhere, but I chose Temple,” commercials featuring comedian Bill Cosby. He has created numerous videos that demonstrate Unisys products and services for YouTube and other online delivery platforms. He has produced videos that won multiple Telly,Stevie, Cindy, ITVA Golden Reel and Create Awards. John’s satellite broadcasts have originated from major locations such as Paris, Rome, Sydney, and several United States locations, and he has produced and staged a number of corporate events. John’s commitments also include being a former president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the International Television Association, past president of Congregation Beth Israel of Media, PA and he is also active in social action programs focused on addressing hunger in Delaware County. While at Springfield, John was a member of the Springfield HS track and cross country teams, and he is s till active in the running community in the Philadelphia area. He is the race director of Tyler Arboretum 10K Trail Run, which was named a “top race to run” by Philadelphia Magazine, and he is a past president for the Delaware County Road Runners Club. He lives in Media with his wife, Amy Lee Binder.
SYLVIA MACDONALD MERRILL - Class of 1936 - In Memorium
In the words of her daughter, Pam Walker:
Sylvia Macdonald Merrill was born in Springfield in 1918 and attended school there until she graduated in 1936. As most now know, she wrote Springfield’s alma mater and was also very much involved with the musical groups and theatre productions at the school. In fact there is where she met my dad Harvey Merrill. He was her leading man during those shows while a year ahead of her in school. When they both graduated (dad in 1935 and she in 1936) they were still together and were married in 1941. Sylvia then went on with her singing career and performed with the Philadelphia Music Club, where she won several awards. She also sang at Wanamaker’s for their fashion weeks, and at Strawbridge and Clothier who produced operettas and cantatas from time to time in the store. She performed at many churches in and around Philadelphia and clubs such as the Sons of Italy, Frankfort Legion, and Cape May Convention Hall. She was even a special invited guest to sing at Steele Pier in Atlantic City in 1951. She and my dad moved to North Jersey in 1952 where she began singing with baritone Andrew Gainey at various places in and around New York City. They formed a quartet called the Imperial Singers which went on to perform at the Paper Mill Playhouse and even on Broadway. She also did some choral work with the NY Metropolitan Opera from time to time. In 1953 she morphed into two roles, playing the piano as well as singing. From that point on, she sang and played everywhere. After moves to Washington DC and then on to Atlanta, GA, she became better known for her piano work than singing, and for 10 years was the Concert Pianist for The Atlanta Ballet. She moved to Palm Coast, Florida in 2008 when her health began to fail, and passed away last July just one week after the wonderful video on her was done by Springfield High School. As a legacy, she has left us two CDs of her talents and that wonderful video that was lovingly composed by Ben Lieberman, District Audio Visual Coordinator.
ERICA MILBOURNE - Class of 1986
Erica Milbourne began playing the violin at age eight. During her years at Springfield High School she was a music major, playing in the orchestra and participating in marching band in the band front and as Drum Major in her senior year. Erica was also selected for PMEA’s District, Region and All-State Orchestras throughout her years at SHS. She earned her Bachelor of Music Education degree from Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music in 1993 and has completed graduate studies at the University of the Arts, Villanova University and Gratz College. Erica has been teaching music for the past 20 years and currently serves as the Orchestra Director at North Penn High School and Penndale Middle School in the North Penn School District in Lansdale. Her students have participated in PMEA’s District, Region and All-State Orchestras, MENC’s All-Eastern Orchestra and All-National Orchestra. Erica is an active member of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association, the National Association for Music Education, and the American String Teachers Association, and also serves on the Leadership Development Committee for PSEA, which provides leadership workshops for teachers from all across Pennsylvania. In addition to teaching, Erica is a member of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra, has performed in the United States and Spain, teaches privately and has an active freelance performance schedule. She has performed with Anne Murray, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Sinatra Jr., Peter Cetera, Sarah McLachlan, and Hayley Westenra, to name a few. She has performed works of many contemporary composers and also had the honor of performing numerous times at Carnegie Hall – most recently with the Tim Janis Orchestra under the direction of our own Kevin Cooper.
RITA SQUITIERE - Class of 2000
Rita Squitiere is an independent costume designer and wardrobe stylist. She received her Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design from Philadelphia University and her Master of Fine Art in Costume Design from Temple University where she earned an Award of Merit from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for her thesis production of “RENT” as well as the Zelma Weisfeld Scholarship for “Excellence in Costume Design”. While at Temple, Rita received accolades for costuming “Caberet”, performed at the Prince Music Theater in center city. In 2005 Rita joined “A Wish Come True”, a dance recital costume company, as a pattern maker and designer. Her designs were featured under the company title in magazines; such as, Dance Spirit and Pointe Magazine. She was the main design contributor to the team wear division. Ms. Squitiere has also held positions at the prestigious Curtis Music Institute Opera Theatre as the resident Wardrobe Supervisor and taught Costume Design at Temple University. Rita now designs in Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles for film, theatre, and styles commercials. Her latest film design credits include ‘Pasadena’, an independent feature film produced by Midway Films. Theatre credits include: “Ethel!” at the Walnut Street Theatre, directed by Tony award winning choreographer Kenneth Robberson. Recent set costuming credits include Robert Luketic’s “Paranoia” starring Harrison Ford, Liam Hemsworth, and Amber Heard, due to be released October 2013.
MARIA BELLANO WAINWRIGHT - CLass of 1995
Maria Bellano Wainwright, graduate of the class of 1995, feels very honored to be inducted in the SHS Arts Hall of Fame and credits her Springfield education for carving her career path. Maria earned her degree in Graphic Design Communications from Philadelphia University and enjoyed her first job creating the signage and graphics surrounding the Philadelphia Zoo, which she recalls as an amazing experience. She is now the Creative Director for Lincoln Financial Group, a position she's held for twelve years. As Creative Director, she is responsible for fourteen direct reports and maintains a team of art directors, designers, senior writers and production designers. She works closely with the CMO and CEO on high-level projects in order to achieve the constant organization goals of boosting sales and increasing productivity. Working with the Vice President of Brand, they have created Lincoln’s brand standards based on their new ad campaign, “Chief Life Officer.” Due to this initiative, Maria now often travels extensively working with renowned photographers and creates graphic-animation videos, interactive iBooks for iPads, and presentations using Prezi and other innovative tools. Along with her colleagues, Maria has gained recognition across the company winning eleven GD USA In-House awards in the past two years and she personally has been nominated three times for the Lincoln Award of Excellence. Attributing significantly to her success, Maria values the drive and determination she learned at Springfield and the school district’s continued support for the arts.